Natural Bridge Wax Museum: Archibald (Bar) Tolley fighting bear

The placard for this diorama reads as follows:

Archibald (Bar) Hunter was a famous bear hunter said to have killed between 99 and 385 Bears in his 91 years. Known for his honest, if rather salty tongue, Bar emerged unscathed from countless hunts only to die from blood poisoning from a nail in his foot.

And in addition to the ironic circumstance of death for this larger than life frontiersman, my favorite part of this installation is the lighting of both the bear and man as they grapple for life. We just don;t grapple bears the way we used to, well, exepct for maybe the Grizzly Man, but that didn’t work out too well in the end.

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16 Responses to Natural Bridge Wax Museum: Archibald (Bar) Tolley fighting bear

  1. I feel a deep… resonance with this one. A kinship.

    Not sure if the connection is with the guy or the bear. It just feels… right. Makes my arms flex and stretch out.

  2. daniel jordan says:

    Bryan if you feel a kinship, I definately do. He is my great great uncle.

    • Va Girl says:

      Daniel, If you ever see/get this post, please post the names of any of Bears brothers, uncles, etc. My husband is a Tolley and we’ve always been told Bear was directly related to his great-grandfather who also hailed from Botetourt. Earnest was born in 1889 and lived to be 99 years old. We are not sure, but think maybe Bear was an uncle to Earnest??

    • Milton Owens says:

      He’s my great great uncle too, we are kin!

    • Jenny Tolley Crossen says:

      And he’s also my great, great, great uncle… My dad’s family is all from Natural Bridge.

  3. I assume you mean Tolley, not the bear.

  4. John Gillespie says:

    Daniel, interesting that you are kin. I am kin as well. Funny thing, it’s been so long since Tolleys death there’s a pile of us out there now, lot’s that claim falsely as well. Our side of the family, (Gillispie), still bear hunt’s with hounds in the same area. Hope you are still in the family business.

  5. Carl Tolley says:

    Bar tolley was my great great uncle ,
    I now live in mobile alabama but had the privelage to visit the museum, and my heritage my father is Alfred tolley jr from roanoke and my grandfather Alfed tolley sr was from Crew and his father was Orbie hayden tolleyand his father was joe tolley Arches brother

  6. Lisa Goff says:

    My grandmother was a tolley and from my understanding he was my great great great uncle

  7. Jennifer Akers says:

    My grandfather was also a relative of Archibald… It would be interesting to learn more information about him and other family members.

  8. Shahmone says:

    I am a great great great grandson of Bear Tolley . I’ve always felt a connection …A desire to live in the wilderness.

  9. Ginger Carter says:

    I’m sure that Archibald Tolley is a relative of mine as well. Tolley is my ladies name and most of my Tolley family were from botetourt. My grandfather William Berkley Tolley and my father Jerry Tolley look just like him.

  10. Doug Meekins says:

    His son was EG “Peg” Tolley of Princeton WV His grandson is Buddy Tolley, my brother-in-law, also of Princeton WV.
    Doug Meekins [email protected]

  11. Doug Meekins says:

    My brother-in-law remembers his dad EG “Peg” Tolley taking him to see his grandfather Archibald to his cabin in the mountains.

  12. Cindy says:

    My grandfather was related to Bear Tolley. My grandfather’s mother was Editha Bell Tolley Rice. My grandfather grew up in Big Island ,Va. He would tell of the adventures of Bear, (passed on by the generations) which were fascinating to me.

  13. Amanda says:

    He was my great ×5 grandfather. My mom’s maiden name is Edward’s and there are lot’s of Tolley’s buried up at our family cemetery in Natural Bridge! Love learning about my ancestors/family.

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